If you are thinking of ditching your nine-to-five in favor of starting a business, it pays to be well-informed before you set out on your own. Most new businesses encounter difficulties during their first year, but you can mitigate, or even avoid, tough situations by conducting thorough research and having a solid plan in place.

Make Your Business Your Priority
Even if you are starting a business during your spare time, be sure you treat your new business as your primary business. If you are still working your day job, be prepared to devote all of your free time to putting your plan into action. Your personal life may take a serious hit for several months, but it is necessary to put the time in if you want to reap the rewards later.

Location, Location, Location
Starting a business in a sub-par location could close your doors before they even open. Perform a thorough location search, conduct market research, and be sure your business will fill a void in the community where you plan to open. If there are many similar, established businesses in close proximity, it will be your new business that fails first.

Understand the Workload
Starting a business means loads of work … and mountains of paperwork. From employee records to tax forms to zoning regulations, there will be an overwhelming amount of paperwork to tackle. Be sure you fully understand the requirements of your municipality and how to get it all done. If you feel like you are in over your head (or soon will be), don’t be afraid to hire a professional to help you get everything straight.

Secure Funding
Prior to launch, it is imperative that you have established how much capital you will need, and where you will get the funds. Whether you work with a bank or a non-traditional lender, get loans from family and friends, or find an angel investor, be sure you can secure enough funding to cover your launch and at least six months of expenses.